Published on
Scene 1 (0s)


The period from early 18th century leading up to the Mutiny of

1857 witnessed massive political and socio-cultural turmoil which impacted the evolution of musical culture as well.

He dramatically transformed political and social dynamics that emerged in the aftermath of the Mutiny of 1857 determined the

circumstances in which Indo-Islamic Hindustani music – or

north Indian classical music – had to survive and adapt to “the modern”. However, it was between 1707 and 1857 that its ethos, genres, aesthetic concerns and manner of performance came to

be established. Although its primary elements, the ragas and

talas were ancient [Prajnananda 1981; Gautam 1980], the

synthesis of Indian and Islamicate streams that had begun in the 13th century matured in this interregnum. Older musical

forms were compounded and refurbished and new forms,

especially of instrumental music, were developed. While late 19th and 20th century musicians elaborated and re-worked these forms – ‘khyal’, ‘thumri’ and the instrumental music of the sitar and sarode – in the context of a new and increasingly

dominant metropolitan dispensation, it was in the period

following Aurangzeb that the regional networks of princely patronage had emerged. Classical music, before and after the Mutiny, spread and survived the pressures of transition through

these net works and these courts became the conduits for its

passage into the world of modern urbanised India. The

connection of musicians associated with the Gwalior court and

with Maharashtrian students leading back to Pune and Bombay produced an important axis for khyal singing.

Dhrupad and instrumental music on the other hand found a fertile field in Calcutta where, from around the time of the

Mutiny, the musicians in the retinue of the exiled Nawab Wajid

Scene 2 (1m 20s)

Ali Shah interacted with the city’s educated, modernising